One of my favourite cartoon shows when I was growing up was The Looney Tunes’ Road Runner and Coyote series. I never liked Wile E. Coyote. He always seemed so smug, so cocky, and so full of himself. The Road Runner, on the other hand, was a hands down favourite. He always seemed more innocent to me, happily speeding along the desert highways without a care, seemingly unaware to danger and the hunger of his wily nemesis, yet the same time, almost always in step with the devious plots of his insatiable predator. As a child, I found it hilarious when Coyote got his comeuppance and all his mail-order devices from the Acme Corporation not only failed to deliver the Road Runner to him, but often worked against him.
Last night, Alphonse toppled a wooden cabinet on my foot, the last stroke of his ten-minute rampage. I was hopping like crazy and mouthing silent “Ow! Ow! Ow!”s from the pain when I suddenly saw a vision of myself as the Coyote in my life’s cartoons. For even as I try to catch up and understand the way Alphonse sees the world, he always seems to be one step ahead of me. Like the Road Runner, Alphonse is seemingly oblivious but obviously always attuned to what’s going on around him. He senses things more deeply than others, and thus, is often offended or roused in anger or inflamed by the oddest things. And though my goal in life runs opposite of Coyote’s predatory instincts, I fit the part of Alphonse’s Coyote in these not-so-hilarious episodes of our lives. I run after him constantly, chasing him all day, even. I deviously manipulate our surroundings to work for us and design elaborate plans of action for each step of the day. And armed with all sorts of conveniences to get his attention and cooperation, I become the eternal antagonist in this exhausting chase.
Food is a major stressor for him these days, but I can’t make the connection how and why. The elements of this particular mystery are still too vague and unclear. For someone whose appetite has always been huge, it is puzzling to see him get upset at the sight of food. Knowing that this often brings about devastating meltdowns, I’ve been very vigilant about restricting his access to food, unless given in smaller, more manageable portions and distributed evenly throughout the day. Last night, however, one of the nannies forgot this and left an almost empty ice cream tub on the kitchen counter. Alphonse saw it, ate the rest of the ice cream without any signs of pleasure, and then smashed my display cabinet of figurines. He sustained some small cuts on his foot and a larger one on the palm of his hand before he could be fully restrained.
Alphonse’s amazing ability to bleed copiously from even the smallest wounds was made worse by his steadfast refusal to have his wounds cleaned or wrapped up. My house still looks like a crime scene this morning, what with all the blood he left on the bed and some he spattered on the floor and walls from flailing at us. A was able to commandeer him to the upstairs bath where he forcibly bathed the struggling boy. We could not hold him long enough to put pressure on the lacerations or cover these with bandages; he pushed us away each time with force. In the end, we simply waited for the bleeding to stop. Our sheets are stained where his bloody hand touched them. I was simply too tired to wash out the stains last night.
This morning, Alphonse seemed more sober, but unhappy still. It’s going to be another long day, I can tell. And like Coyote and Road Runner, the chase continues. Beep beep!